How Medical Care for Retirees Differs Around the World

Updated on September 16, 2020

Travel Market Report estimates that as many as 3.3 million U.S. Baby Boomers are planning to retire abroad. If you’re part of this demographic, you’ll want to make sure the medical care you will receive covers your basic health needs and any current medical conditions. Since care for retirees differs from country to country, moving to a place with good quality medical care is crucial. Retiring overseas can be a great adventure, don’t let it be ruined by a lack of healthcare.

United States

Medicare, a national social insurance program funded through payroll taxes and other premiums, guarantees health insurance for Americans aged 65 and older who have worked and paid into the system. Additionally, AARP, Inc. is a non-governmental, non-profit membership organization that advocates supplemental health insurance, plus discounts on prescription drugs, travel and entertainment (to name a few) to Americans 50 and over. As part of its mission, AARP has built highly successful partnerships with hundreds of companies to benefit retirees in the United States. For example, insurance company The Hartford provides discounts on home and auto insurance for AARP members. Other partners include Geek Squad, Avis, Expedia, Walgreens and Kindle.


As reported by USA Today, retirees in Mexico (regardless of nationality) are entitled to a healthcare plan with no limit and no deductibles, on top of medication, tests, x-rays, eyeglasses and dental work for a maximum rate of $250 annually–a number that prompts thousands of Americans to relocate and save thousands of dollars on the care they would be otherwise unable to afford in the U.S. Of course, there are downsides; retirees should know that pre-existing conditions aren’t covered for the first two years of your residency, newer medicines and implants are not free and facilities aren’t as cutting edge as what you might typically see in the U.S.


Hong Kong’s healthcare system is considered one of the best in the world and China’s recent economic liberalization and global strength has more retirees than ever considering China as a retirement destination. Medical care for retirees includes the Elderly Health Care Voucher Scheme, which provides 20 healthcare vouchers with a value of $50 each per year to those who are 70 or older. Hong Kong is trying to encourage its seniors to choose private healthcare over public by allowing these vouchers to be used for services by private healthcare providers enrolled in the EHV system.


Healthcare for the elderly in India is mainly provided by the private sector; lack of affordable insurance means that resident typically have to pay for their medical care out of pocket. If you’re planning on retiring in India, you’ll want to make sure that you have the budget to pay for your medical costs. As a retiree you have two options when living in India: buy private coverage individually or through a group or pay into the government-sponsored system. Fortunately, India is well known for its low-cost, high-quality procedures.


To retire in Australia you’ll have to meet several requirements (unless you have family ties in this country). Also, even with a retirement visa you won’t be eligible for Medicare or social security benefits, says Expat. If a foreign retiree falls within a certain income bracket they may be eligible for some health benefits under the Medicare system in Australia by applying for a Commonwealth Senior’s Health Card. Some of these benefits include, cheaper prescription medicines and low cost or free government funded medical services. For all other retirees the only option for healthcare in this country is private health insurance.

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